20 Nov 2020
The UK has notched up another month of historic borrowing, as the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to grow.
The latest public finances realised on Friday morning show that the UK borrowed £22.3bn in October, approximately £10.8bn more than a year ago.
It is the highest October borrowing figure on record, and the sixth-highest borrowing in any month since monthly records began in 1993 (beaten only by April, May, June, August and September this year).
The report by the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that the tax take dropped last month, while the Covid crisis continued to push up government spending.
“Central government tax receipts are estimated to have been £39.7 billion in October 2020 (on a national accounts basis), £2.7 billion less than in October 2019, with falls in Value Added Tax (VAT), Business Rates and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax,” reads the report.
“Central government bodies are estimated to have spent £71.3 billion on day-to-day activities (current expenditure) in October 2020, £6.4 billion more than in October 2019; this growth includes £1.3 billion in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and £0.3 billion in Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payments.”
Of the borrowing figures, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’ve provided over £200bn of support to protect the economy, lives and livelihoods from the significant and far reaching impacts of coronavirus.
“This is the responsible thing to do. But it’s also clear that over time it’s right we ensure the public finances are put on a sustainable path.”